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Fees & Funding > What Benefits Can You Claim If You Are a Carer?

What Benefits Can You Claim If You Are a Carer?

Women caring for older man

Caring for a loved one can be a rollercoaster of emotions - and is often fulfilling and challenging in equal measure.

When providing unpaid care to someone else, your work life can take a back seat. If your caregiving role is taking over, financial support is available to help you.

As a carer for a family member, there are several state benefits that you may be entitled to. In many cases, these work in a similar way to care home benefits. Read on to learn what each of these benefits is, how they work and how much they pay.


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In this article on carer benefits:

  1. Carer’s allowance
  2. Carer’s credit
  3. Carer premium
  4. Disability living allowance for children
  5. Local welfare assistance
  6. Universal credit
  7. Pension credit
  8. Other schemes and entitlements
  9. Where to get help and advice about carer benefits



Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is the most widely used and spoken about carer benefit. If you’re eligible, then you’ll get £69.70 a week for 2022-23. This also works out as £302 a month and £3,624 a year. With Carer’s Allowance, you can choose to be paid weekly in advance or every four weeks.


You might be able to claim Carer’s Allowance if you:

  • Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
  • Are aged 16 or over
  • Aren’t in full-time education or studying for 21 hours a week or more
  • Earn £132 a week or less (after tax, National Insurance and expenses)

If you earn more than £132 in any given week then it’s important to tell the Department for Work and Pensions. If you don’t, you’ll be asked to pay back the amount you were overpaid. If earnings vary from week to week then you should also let the Department for Work and Pensions know. This way, they can average out your earnings so you stay under the limit.


The person you’re caring for must also be receiving a benefit because of their illness or disability, such as:

  • Attendance Allowance (either rate)
  • Disability Living Allowance (the middle or higher rate of the care component)
  • Personal Independence Payment (either rate of the daily living component)
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • Child Disability Payment in Scotland (the middle or higher rate)
  • Adult Disability Payment in Scotland (the daily living component)

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance here.


Carer's allowance


How does carer’s allowance affect other benefits?

Be aware that Carer’s Allowance can also affect other benefits that you may already be getting - so you might be paid less elsewhere.

Carer’s Allowance can also affect the benefits of the person you’re caring for. For example, if your loved one is receiving Severe Disability Premium then this may stop if you claim Carer’s Allowance.

Generally speaking, you can’t get Carer’s Allowance if you’re already claiming State Pension or certain income-replacing benefits, such as New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

You should still make a claim even if you won’t get the benefit - as you may be entitled to top-up income on any other benefits you receive. This is known as having an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance.


Your local Jobcentre Plus (or Jobs and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland) will be able to tell you which benefits to apply for.


Change of circumstances

Once you’re aware of a change that might affect how much Carer’s Allowance you receive, let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible.

If you tell them too late then an increase in payment amount could result in you missing out on extra money.

You should let the Department for Work and Pensions know if you think a change might reduce your payment - you won’t save any money by reporting this further down the road. If you tell them too late, you could be paid too much and have to pay your benefits back - this is known as an overpayment.





Carer’s Credit

Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that fills up gaps in your National Insurance record.

This will allow you to take on caring responsibilities, without affecting your ability to qualify for the State Pension.


You might be able to get Carer’s Credit if:

  • You’re aged 16 or over
  • You aren’t yet claiming State Pension
  • You don’t qualify for Carer’s Allowance
  • You spend at least 20 hours a week caring for someone
  • The person you care for gets a benefit because of their illness or disability. This could include Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment

If the person you care for doesn’t receive any of these benefits then you may still be able to claim by completing a ‘Care Certificate’.


You don’t need to apply for Carer’s Credit if you:

  • Get Carer’s Allowance (as you’ll automatically get credits)
  • Get Child Benefit for a child aged under 12 (as you’ll automatically get credits)
  • Are a foster carer

To apply, download the Carer’s Credit claim form.


Elderly couple going for a walk





Carer Premium

To be eligible for a Carer Premium, you must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone else.

The Carer Premium is received on top of other benefits and amounts to £38.85 a week. If you’re on Universal Credit then this premium is paid monthly at £168.35.


You may be entitled to an additional Carer Premium if you already get:

  • Income Support
  • Universal Credit (and receive the ‘carer element’)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Support
  • Income-related Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit (and receive the ‘carer addition’)

Ask about the Carer Premium at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. With that being said, if you qualify then this payment will usually be added automatically.





Disability Living Allowance for Children


Disability Living Allowance for children can help with the extra costs of looking after a child who:

  • Is under 16
  • Has difficulty walking or requires much more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a disability

To claim this, you need to be the parent of the child or look after them as if you’re their parent. It is usually paid every four weeks.


This benefit is made up of two components:


1. Care component

Care Component Weekly Rate
Lowest £24.45
Middle £61.85
Highest £92.40

2. Mobility component

Mobility Component Weekly Rate
Lower £24.45
Higher £64.50

So depending on how much help the child needs, the Disability Living Allowance rate can be anywhere between £24.45 and £156.90 (the two higher rates added together).


You can apply by printing off and filling in the DLA claim form, or by phoning the Disability Living Allowance helpline at 0800 121 4600 and asking for a printed form.


If your child lives in Scotland then you should instead apply for Child Disability Payment. If your child moves from Scotland to England or Wales then you need to make a new Disability Living Allowance claim. Child Disability Payment will stop 13 weeks after your child moves - so be sure to apply as soon as possible.





Local Welfare Assistance

If you have an unexpected and urgent financial need while you’re receiving certain benefits or are on a very low income, you might be able to get help in the form of local welfare assistance.


England

Find your local council to see what help they can provide.


Scotland

Learn more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the mygov.scot website.


Wales

Learn more about the Discretionary Assistance Fund on the Welsh Government website.


Northern Ireland

Learn more about the Social Fund on the nidirect website.





Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs. This benefit is paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be eligible if you’re on low income, out of work or unable to work.


For 2022-23, the amount you’ll get for a single household is:

How Much You'll Get Monthly Standard Allowance
If you're single and under 25 £265.31
If you're single and 25 or over £334.91
If you live with a partner and you're both under 25 £416.45 (for both of you)
If you live with a partner and either of you are 25 or over £525.75 (for both of you)

Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support

Apply for Universal Credit here.





Citizens Advice help to claim service


The Citizens Advice Help to Claim service can help you with the following:

  • Checking if you’re entitled to Universal Credit
  • Getting your important paperwork and documents together to speed up your application
  • Filling out your application form online

If you’re currently getting any of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit, you’ll continue to receive these until:

  • The Department for Work and Pensions asks you to start claiming Universal Credit
  • You have to make a new claim because of a change in circumstances

A change in circumstances includes events like starting a new job, having a child or no longer being a carer.


Contact the free and confidential Citizens Advice Help to Claim service before making a claim if you want to learn more about how your taxable income will be affected.


Help with housing costs

If you’re renting as a carer then you might be able to get help with housing costs through the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit (or Housing Benefit if you’re over the State Pension age).

If you’re a homeowner then you can get help with mortgage interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest. This is offered as a repayable loan.





Pension Credit

You can claim this benefit once you’ve reached the State Pension age (or retirement age). This is designed to top up your retirement and is separate from the State Pension.


Pension Credit tops up:

  • Your weekly income to £182.60 if you’re single
  • Your joint weekly income to £278.70 if you have a partner

If you live with a partner, you’ll only be able to claim Pension Credit if you’ve both reached State Pension age.


You could also get an extra £38.85 a week if:

  • You get Carer’s Allowance
  • You’ve claimed Carer’s Allowance but aren’t being paid because you already get another benefit paying a higher amount

Apply for Pension Credit here.


Elderly couple smiling





Other Schemes and Entitlements

There are several schemes and entitlements aimed at making your life as a carer that little bit easier. Here are a handful of the most popular schemes in the UK.


Motability scheme

If you’re caring for a loved one with limited mobility then they may be able to get support through the Motability scheme. This can help by providing a car, wheelchair or powered scooter.

If the person you care for is eligible then you get assistance with picking the right vehicle. The scheme will then take payments straight from your allowance provider.

To apply, all you or your loved one will need to do is contact your local Motability Scheme dealer and make an appointment.


Blue badge parking

Blue Badge parking permits allow drivers who have passengers with mobility issues to park in more convenient locations, such as disabled parking bays. You’ll also be able to park on single or double lines for up to three hours.

A Blue Badge costs up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland, while it’s free in Wales. This badge will usually last for up to three years.

Apply for or renew a Blue Badge here.


Disabled persons railcard

A Disabled Persons Railcard entitles the cardholder and a carer or companion ? off the majority of National Rail adult rail fares.

Having a Disabled Persons Railcard will save an average of £91 per year, or £4.26 per journey.

For example, a train journey from Edinburgh to London would cost around £54, rather than the standard £82.

This railcard costs £20 for one year or £54 for three years and can be bought at any staffed ticket office.

Alternatively, you can apply for a disabled persons railcard online.


Cinema exhibitors association card

This card entitles you to a free ticket when you take the person you’re caring for to the cinema. This card is accepted by all national cinema chains and can be easily applied for online - all you need is proof of eligibility and a photo.

Another benefit of this card is that it allows cinemas to better look after disabled guests. By making them aware of your loved one’s disability, they’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments.

The card costs just £6.00 a year.

Apply for a Cinema Exhibitors Association card here.


Other discounts

Aside from these benefits, there are plenty of other free or discounted entry offers available to carers at various places like museums, leisure centres and National Trust sites up and down the country.

These aren’t always advertised, so it’s often worth asking before buying any tickets.

Quite a lot of local authorities also offer shopping, leisure and other discounts to carers. Contact your local council or authority to see what extra support they offer.





Where to Get Help and Advice About Carer Benefits

Claiming carer benefits is an often-complicated process, which is why it’s important to make sure you fully understand what you’re entitled to.


For extra benefits advice, along with help filling in claim forms, you can contact the following:






Searching for a care home can be a stressful and often time-consuming experience.

Thankfully, Lottie removes much of the difficulty from this process by connecting elderly people to care experts with years of expertise who can find them one of the UK’s very best care homes. We’ll match your loved one to a home which is perfectly suited to their individual needs.

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